Drive-thrus at restaurants have a long and storied history, beginning in the early 20th century. From drive-in windows to carhops on roller skates, to the modern golden arches, the look of the drive-thru has certainly changed in the past 100 years.
However, the same considerations that were important to drivers back then are actually still important to drivers today. According to a recent study from QSR Magazine, there are a multitude of factors that fast-food franchise owners must perfect in order to rise above the competition. These factors affect the experience that people expect when they go through a drive-thru. In short, these are a speedy and efficient service combined with good, cheap food.
These factors include menus that are easy to read, food that is manageable while eating in the car, order accuracy, ease of drive-thru access, the speed of service, and more. For example, data from the QSR study shows that KFC delivers orders correctly only 70% of the time! That’s definitely an area for KFC ownership to improve upon in order to increase customer satisfaction levels.
You may not have guessed this, but drive-thrus are actually the most lucrative part of any fast food restaurant. Reports have shown that fast food locations make up to 70% of their total yearly revenue from drive-thrus. By the year 2020, total fast food spending in the United States is expected to reach $223 billion! That averages out to about $1,200 per day for each person in the U.S. or $60k in a lifetime.
There is obviously a lot of profit to be made in this industry. Fast food franchise owners have to step up their game in order to stay at the top. Take a look at the graphic below from our friends at CarRentals.com for more details on drive-thru history, current statistics, and surprising facts.